Parramatta Eels vs Wests Tigers
Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown 14. Andrew Davey 15. Marata Niukore 16. Stefano Utoikamanu 17. Brad Takairangi 18. David Gower 19. George Jennings 20. Daniel Alvaro 21. Jai Field
Parramatta are coming off a lackluster performance against a depleted Manly last round, and it looks to me like they might be starting to become a little drained mentally. They’ve been getting themselves up emotionally week after week but they’re looking like a team that needs a week off to refresh. Moses has been named to return though which will give them a much needed boost.
Tigers: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Chris Lawrence 4. Moses Mbye 5. Tommy Talau 6. Billy Walters 7. Benji Marshall 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Harry Grant 10. Russell Packer 11. Michael Chee-Kam 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Matt Eisenhuth 14. Sam McIntyre 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Luke Brooks 17. Chris McQueen 18. Oliver Clark 19. Elijah Taylor 20. Shawn Blore 21. Alex Seyfarth
Their 48-0 pummeling of the Broncos last round shows how much this side continues to improve under Maguire. Benji looked as dangerous as he’s ever been and Billy Walters didn’t look out of place in the #6 jersey. The main story line for this match revolves around how Eels back rower Ryan Matterson left the club and the Tigers will certainly be motivated. I think they’ll cause an upset.
Tigers by 2
North Queensland Cowboys vs Manly Sea Eagles
Cowboys: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Connelly Lemuelu 4. Esan Marsters 5. Justin O’Neill 6. Daejarn Asi 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh McGuire 9. Reece Robson 10. Francis Molo 11. Shane Wright 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Mitchell Dunn 15. Tom Gilbert 16. Gavin Cooper 17. Reuben Cotter 18. Murray Taulagi 19. Ben Hampton 20. Jordan McLean 21. Emry Pere
A new era at North Queensland with their premiership-winning coach parting ways with the club this week. Usually when a coach loses his job, it can galvanise the playing group. I expect the Cowboys to put in a good performance but I don’t think they have the cattle with several key players out through injury.
Sea Eagles: 1. Brendan Elliot 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Corey Waddell 19. Tevita Funa 20. Abbas Miski 21. Haumole Olakau’atu
A confidence boosting win over the first-placed Eels last round and a return to form for captain DCE. Addin Fonua-Blake has been named but will need to meet Queensland’s Covid guidelines to enter the state. Like the Cowboys, Manly are still missing a few key players as well but I think they still have enough class and experience to edge out North Queensland.
Sea Eagles by 6
Brisbane Broncos vs Melbourne Storm
Broncos: 1. Anthony Milford 2. Herbie Farnworth 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Darius Boyd 5. Xavier Coates 6. Brodie Croft 7. Tom Dearden 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Cory Paix 10. Payne Haas 11. Joe Ofahengaue 12. Tevita Pangai Junior 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Tyson Gamble 15. Rhys Kennedy 16. Jamil Hopoate 17. Ben Te’o 18. Richard Kennar 19. Ethan Bullemor 20. Pride Petterson-Robati 21. Kobe Hetherington
The injury battered Broncos put in another shocker last round, belted 48-nill by the Wests Tigers. They lose Oates and Isaac Luke to injury and suspension to add to their long list of players unavailable. Dearden finally gets a shot in the halves and Milford shifts to fullback, which might reinvigorate his running game but may add to the Broncos already woeful defence. I already feel sorry for them for what might happen in this game.
Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Paul Momirovski 3. Brenko Lee 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Brandon Smith 9. Cameron Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane 14. Marion Seve 15. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 16. Albert Vete 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 18. Chris Lewis 19. Suliasi Vunivalu 20. Ryley Jacks 21. Darryn Schonig
The Storm have won nine of their past 10 against the Broncos and haven’t lost to them at Suncorp since 2009. Cam Muster is back from injury and put on a clinic last round against the Titans. I don’t think I’ve ever tipped a team to win by 40 points, but if the Storm don’t show complacency and produce their ruthless, clinical best, I expect them to maul the hapless and helpless Broncos.
Storm by 40
New Zealand Warriors vs Sydney Roosters
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Adam Pompey 4. Peta Hiku 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Blake Green 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 9. Wayde Egan 10. Jack Hetherington 11. Eliesa Katoa 12. Tohu Harris 13. Jazz Tevaga 14. Chanel Harris-Tavita 15. Adam Blair 16. Isaiah Papali’i 17. Lachlan Burr 18. Jack Murchie 19. Josh Curran 20. Adam Keighran 21. Patrick Herbert
The timely return of the Warriors best player this season, Kodi Nikorima from injury is a huge boost but they’re coming up against the back-to-back premiers who are looking to get back into the top 4. Hopefully coach Peyton can get them up for the challenge and make this game a contest.
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Matt Ikuvalu 3. Josh Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Isaac Liu 14. Lachlan Lam 15. Sitili Tupouniua 16. Nat Butcher 17. Lindsay Collins 18. Poasa Faamausili 19. Ryan Hall 20. Daniel Fifita 21. Drew Hutchison
There has been some concern with the Roosters middle-third defence since Radlee went down to a season ending ACL injury but that’s one area of their game they will look to improve against the struggling Warriors. The Chooks will be looking to bounce back after their upset loss last round and should cruise past the Warriors.
Roosters by 24
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Josh Dugan 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Siosifa Talakai 12. Wade Graham 13. Toby Rudolf 14. Connor Tracey 15. Jack Williams 16. Teig Wilton 17. Royce Hunt 18. Billy Magoulias 19. Bryson Goodwin 20. Daniel Vasquez 21. Braydon Trindall
The Sharks have scored 40+ points in three of their past four games and have a lot to play for in this game. Currently sitting in 9th spot, they’ll be looking to climb into the top 8 with a win. Shaun Johnson is in fine form and apart from their big loss against the Panthers in round 9, they have looked good over the past month.
Dragons team: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jason Saab 3. Euan Aitken 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Adam Clune 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Ben Hunt 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tyrell Fuimaono 13. Cameron McInnes 14. Trent Merrin 15. Josh Kerr 16. Jacob Host 17. Jackson Ford 18. Eddie Blacker 19. Tristan Sailor 20. Billy Brittain 21. Korbin Sims
The Dragons also have a lot to play for. They’re currently 11th and need to win to stay in touch with the top 8. They barely escaped with the two competition points last round against the last-placed Bulldogs but I think they might struggle to contain Shaun Johnson and the Sharks if they’re at their attacking best.
Sharks by 8
Canberra Raiders vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Jordan Rapana 5. Semi Valemi 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Siliva Havili 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Kai O’Donnell 14. Tom Starling 15. Joseph Tapine 16. Ryan Sutton 17. Harley Smith-Shields 18. Sam Williams 19. Darby Medlyn 20. Matt Frawley 21. John Bateman
The Raiders win over their 2019 grand final opponents last round showed they’re not out of the premiership running yet despite losing their most influential player in Josh Hodgson for the season. As long as Havili contuniues to fulfill his role to the best of his ability, Canberra still have enough quality to challenge for the title. John Bateman named on the extended bench. I think they can edge out the struggling Rabbitohs.
Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Corey Allan 3. Campbell Graham 4. Dane Gagai 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Hame Sele 16. Patrick Mago 17. Jack Johns 18. Kurt Dillon 19. Keaon Koloamatangi 20. Troy Dargan 21. Steven Marsters
Souths are struggling for consistency and are clinging on to 8th spot. They’ve lost strike centre James Roberts potentially for the season and they’re still without fullback Latrell Mitchell. On paper, both teams still look evenly matched but looking back on both sides performances last round, I think the Raiders will claim the two competition points.
Raiders by 6
Newcastle Knights vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Enari Tuala 3. Tautau Moga 4. Bradman Best 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Jacob Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Herman Ese’ese 14. Connor Watson 15. Mitchell Barnett 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Sione Mata’utia 18. Tex Hoy 19. Josh King 20. Phoenix Crossland 21. Gehamat Shibasaki
The Knights are another team which has lacked consistency over the past month and will be looking to back up their win last round with another good performance against the last-placed Bulldogs. Coach O’Brien will no doubt be expecting a clinical performance.
Bulldogs: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Kerrod Holland 4. Jake Averillo 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Kieran Foran 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Luke Thompson 14. Brandon Wakeham 15. Sione Katoa 16. Renouf To’omaga 17. Ofahiki Ogden 19. Dean Britt 20. Reimis Smith 21. Chris Smith 22. Jack Cogger
Bulldogs players now have some clarity with where the team is heading with the signing of a new coach in Trent Barrett and are now seemingly playing for their futures at the club. You can never fault their effort collectively but the Knights will have too much class for them.
Knights by 16
Gold Coast Titans vs Penrith Panthers
Titans: 1. Corey Thompson 2. Anthony Don 3. Brian Kelly 4. Dale Copley 5. Phillip Sami 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Erin Clark 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Jai Arrow 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Sam Lisone 16. Tyrone Peachey 17. Jarrod Wallace 18. Sam Stone 19. Nathan Peats 20. Treymain Spry 21. Jai Whitbread
Fogarty has been named at halfback but will likely have to pass fitness tests during the week after going off injured in their last round loss against the Storm. Coach Holbrook will be looking for an improved performance against another top side but it’s hard to see them competing against the red hot Panthers.
Panthers: 1. Caleb Aekins 2. Josh Mansour 3. Brent Naden 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Moses Leota 17. Billy Burns 18. Matt Burton 19. Daine Laurie 20. Lindsay Smith 21. Pat Hollis
A couple of key outs with Edwards and Koroisau injured but with Nathan Cleary in irresistible form at the moment, the table-topping Panthers should have no problems cruising past the Titans in this one.
Panthers by 20